86 Days Till the World Cup

16 03 2010

Column number three hit the stands today … you can read it at http://bit.ly/clrytu or just read on here. I’ll be blogging from the NCAA tourney this weekend in San Jose and tweeting fairly regularly if I get myself into the WWE event in San Jose next week too. Enjoy … hopefully.

U.S. team starting to heal
March 16, 2010, 01:13 AM By Julio Lara, Daily Journal Staff
We’ll start this week’s version of the countdown with a bit of good news.Clint Dempsey, a striker for the United States national team, made his return to the pitch this week for Fulham in their 3-1 loss to Juventus — I take it back, this is great news.

Less than two months ago, there were fears Dempsey would miss the World Cup when he went down with a knee injury. Thankfully for the U.S., the injury wasn’t as bad as it first appeared.

It isn’t a mystery that the United States struggled offensively against Holland. Dempsey hitting the field again with two months of European soccer to play before the U.S begins their training camp is much welcomed for a team that is in desperate need of a spark and Dempsey will have to provide it.

The United States actually got their fair share of good news this week on the injury front. Along with Dempsey, Oguchi Onyewu was just cleared to train with AC Milan. Steve Cherundolo and Ricardo Clark also returned from minor injuries.

Speaking of sparks, Charlie Davies in continuing his feverish road to recovery. Davies tweeted last Friday “WEEK 3 COMPLETE!! Last week here in Capbreton, France before I go back to Sochaux. Thank you all for your support!!! God Bless!”

Will it be enough to land him a spot on the team? I don’t see how if Davies performs well with Sochaux, that coach Bob Bradley can leave him off the magical 23. Given his flashes of brilliance and the United States’ lack of depth up front, it would be too much of a gamble not to take him to South Africa

I might need security

The list of expenses for the World Cup fan keeps growing — how about adding protection to your list of things to pay for at South Africa 2010?

It’s true. Reports are surfacing that on top of paying thousands for airfare, hotel and tickets (if you’re going you’re spending no less than $8,000 on your trip) fans of the World Cup aren’t taking any chances, forking over more money for private security or at the very least, a firearm.

According to ESPN.com’s Soccernet, Fidelity Security Services, the country’s leading security company, have been awarded 600 extra firearm licenses. Wealthy fans, celebrities and other important people have applied for them requesting extra protection.

Country officials insist that they’ll be more than adequate protection for fans, with about 44,000 police officers doing their part to keep the peace. In addition the South African government has hired another 10,000 private security personnel to assist in protecting the public.

You think carrying a gun is a little much? Maybe, maybe not. Reports are the country sees about 50 murders a day — that number doesn’t include assaults and robberies. Sure there is crime wherever you go, but when it comes to your safety, you can never be too cautious. I understand that I might come across as a paranoid nut-job right now, but I used to live in Oakland.

With all the money people are spending you have to see your trip to South Africa as an investment and the added security as protection of such. Yet there has to be concerns over thousands of additional firearms being introduced into the population and regular Joes sporting guns in a multitude of people.

The safety of the players is also at stake here too. No one wishes harm on anyone but if the reports are true, then it’s sounding more and more like something terrible is bound to happen. Hopefully I’m just blowing this out of proportion. If you’re on your way to South Africa I say take the advice of my soccer brass: Use common sense. Sounds simple enough, no?

God save the queen!

I’m sure we’ll touch this topic again in the upcoming weeks, but I’d be hard-pressed not to mention England and how things seem to be falling apart across the pond.

The latest bit of news comes courtesy of long-time British superstar David Beckham, who will out for six months after undergoing surgery to repair a torn Achilles tendon, shutting the door on any hopes he may have had to play in South Africa.

Man, what did the English do to piss off the soccer gods? Beckham is out, one-time English-soccer savior Michael Owens can’t shake the injury bug and he’s done. While the two injuries might not have much affect on the field for England, Beckham and Owens have proven more than say, Wayne Rooney, on the international level and their presence might have been nice off the bench for England — although Rooney is the unquestioned leader of England right now.

Adding to these injuries are sex scandals involving John Terry, now former captain of the English team (sleeping with and impregnating teammate Wayne Bridge’s ex-girlfriend) and Ashley Cole (a key piece of the defense) and England has more drama than your mid-day soap opera. Cole is still recovering from an injury (apparently he’s good enough to do other things though) and the Terry scandal has led Bridge to hang up his patriotic cleats (at least for now).

Slovenia, Algeria and more importantly, the United States, have to loving every bit of this.

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